Stakeholders in the agricultural sector on Thursday said farmers needed timely release of inputs to boost food availability and end food insecurity.
Some of the stakeholders made the appeal in Abuja at the United Nations Development Programme Global Environment Facility Integrated Approach Programme on Food Security (UNDP-GEF-IAP-FS).
The programme was held in collaboration with Women Farmers Advancement Network. Mr Abdulrauf Lawal, Deputy National President, Nigeria Agro Input Dealers Association said passage of bill was not the main concern of farmers but for the bill to be enforced.
“We want FG to make inputs affordable, accessible and available so that farmers can use it on time to increase food for the population of over 200 million Nigerians.’’ He said there was need for the right chemicals to be available to farmers as there were so many crops that needed chemical applications.
“Cheap things only last for a short time; Nigerian farmers are not poor, so give us the best.”
According to him, another major problem of farmers is inadequate number of extension workers to help out on their farms. Lawal said there was need to improve on all farm produce to have a generally accepted standard.
“When we keep importing rice in the country, we deny one more person opportunity to work, feed and make livelihood.” Mrs Ramatu Garba, founder, Women Farmers Advancement Network said getting genuine fertilizer was another challenge faced by farmers as fake fertilizer was everywhere.
We need to report at any time we are being short-changed, we need to take a step further by bringing the sample to show as evidence. Mr Muhammad Ibrahim, a farmer from Jigawa said he blamed government for presence of fake fertilizer in the market.
Ibrahim said government should ban the sale of fertilizer in the open market and use its agencies to distribute across the country as it was done in the sixties. He said there was need for the government to take responsibility of making sure that farmers obtained the right agricultural inputs.
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